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Tech: Neil Young - Audiophile?

JohnInKansas 03 Feb 12 - 10:34 AM
pdq 03 Feb 12 - 11:04 AM
Will Fly 03 Feb 12 - 11:06 AM
pdq 03 Feb 12 - 11:40 AM
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Subject: Tech: Neil Young - Audiophile?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 03 Feb 12 - 10:34 AM

A recent posting at PC Magazine claims to "discuss" why all your sound files sound so bad, and suggests what might be better. The article kicks off by citing Neil Young as inspiration, but unfortunately for those who are his dedicated fans gives only a short reference to "something he said."

The article is too long to post here, but may be read at:

Why Your MP3s Sound Bad: High-Resolution Audio Explained

"There's more to digital music than MP3 and AAC files, as Neil Young recently reminded us. Here's why high-resolution audio is important.

February 1, 2012 03:18pm EST

"Neil Young made waves this week with some comments about digital music files—first at the Sundance Film Festival, and then later in an All Things D interview. But lost in the media frenzy is his real point. Young wasn't putting down all digital music. Instead, he was referring specifically to the compressed MP3 and AAC files most people listen to today. Truth is, they just don't sound all that good."

The article does offer some points for consideration, if you're really interested in better sound; but it falls a bit short on the promise to "explain high resolution audio." As is all too typical of "tech writers" today, the writer says "it's better" but doesn't actually say "what it is" relative to his context. (This is probably consistent with nearly all his "examples" being Apple-based but hopefully our really serious listeners/recorders/transcribers won't make that an issue.)

The article does explain, in rather rudimentary terms, what Neil Young finds objectionable about the common MP3 (and some other) digital formats.

There is also some mention of "improvements in D/A converters" that I haven't seen mentioned in other news. There's no mention of a time frame when this may have happened, but I wonder if that suggests some people might want to look for upgrades to the codecs they may be using???

I'll leave it to those who are into audio distributions to comment on whether the whole business is evolving in ways the rest of us should know about, and for the fans to clarify whether Neil Young has a point or is just being his usual adorable whiney self.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Neil Young - Audiophile?
From: pdq
Date: 03 Feb 12 - 11:04 AM

Once people develope an "ear" for recorded music, they tend to agree the analog sounds better then digital, vacuum tubes sound better than transistors, transistors sound better than op amps, uncompressed music sounds better than heavily compressed recordings, high definition digital sounds better than standard lower samplong rates, that MP3s basically suck, and recordings made at home on a PC with a cheap microphone and offered to the public as "pay for it now" MP3 files are _________ (use your own term here).

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Subject: RE: Tech: Neil Young - Audiophile?
From: Will Fly
Date: 03 Feb 12 - 11:06 AM

I think Neil Young has always preferred the warm sound of vinyl to digital music, compressed or otherwise - and most of albums, later ones included, are available on vinyl. Certainly, early digital transfers and recordings were very clinical, and he made his dislike of it all very evident.

Wasn't it Phil Spector who used to wear a badge saying "Back to mono"?

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Subject: RE: Tech: Neil Young - Audiophile?
From: pdq
Date: 03 Feb 12 - 11:40 AM

I think he's now wearing a badge "back to prison"...

As for "mono", George Martin spent an enormous amount of time getting the "mono mix" just right for "Sargeant Pepper...".

Brian Wilson said that you have not really heard "Pet Sounds" until you have heard the mono version.

Dylan's last recording that was avaiable in mono was "Blonde on Blonde" and that version, in mint condition, sells for a lot of money.

Actually, the late 1950s and early 1960s Jazz recordings that audiophiles prize so much are the mono version. The stereo is considred second choice and the "re-channeled for stereo" pressings are considered garbage.

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